05 October 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has granted ex-parte motion to a group known as Ogoni Youth Federation, OYF, to summon the Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, to appear before it over the management and administration of the $10 million initial grant released to the agency for Ogoni cleanup.
The OYF had gone to court to have the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, and the Federal Ministry of Environment furnish it with details of expenditure on the $10 million released to the body by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Joint Venture, NNPC JV, for the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland.
The presiding judge, Justice E. A. Obile, granted the ex-parte order to the group to file and serve writ of summons for judicial review to the first, second and third defendants (HYPREP, Dr Marvin Dekil and the Federal Ministry of Environment).
Speaking to newsmen after the court session, Counsel for the group, Barr. Asuk Ikpoko, said the writ of notice will now enable HYPREP to appear in court over the matter.
According to him, “We made a letter in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, seeking HYPREP to give them (OYF) certain information in line with the FOI Act, but the body failed to give them the requisite information as provided by law.
“In pursuant to the relevant provisions of the FOI Act, they have come to court to file an originating summon asking the court to give an order mandating them to perform their statutory duties.
“So based on the provisions of the law, we have file a motion ex parte asking the court to grant us writ to serve originating summons on the defendants and this morning, the honourable court in its wisdom has granted the application as raised.
“So what we are to do now is to serve them the originating summon so that they can come to court and give reason why they have not comply with the provisions of the FOIA.”
Also speaking, the President General, Ogoni Youths Federation, Mr Legborsi Yamabana, alleged that the management, administration and disbursement of the $10 million fund for the cleanup managed by the Federal Ministry of Environment and HYPREP, was shrouded in secrecy.
Yamabana, who gave justifications for the matter in court, said his group had earlier made several efforts towards inquiring the delay in the cleanup and clarifications on the initial fund set aside for the cleanup of Ogoni, but to no avail.
“We came to Court to demand for accountability and transparency because there has been a lot of secrecy going on with the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and the Federal Ministry of Environment in respect to the Ogoni clean up.
“We wrote to them in pursuance of the freedom of information act, demanding information on the management, administration and disbursement of the $10 million initially earmarked for the clean up excercise of Ogoni land.
“We are saying that the agency set up to cleanup Ogoniland should tackle the issue and stop the rhetorics because our people are dying and also give account for the money given to them for the Ogoni clean up. That money is for all Ogoni people and their environment and not for any individual,” he said.